Kinsey and Grey Panthers meet at SCI Phoenix

HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said the PLBC recently held a meeting at SCI Phoenix in conjunction with the Grey Panthers to discuss medical parole and the early release of elderly inmates, as it relates to H.B. 642 that he introduced.

“Ultimately, we are working together to find a humane alternative to incarceration for elderly inmates,” Kinsey said. “The results would end in reducing the costs of our prison systems, while simultaneously lessening the burden on our correctional facilities and their workers. For inmates over the age of 50, and especially 65, research shows lower recidivism rates, higher costs due to health care and special needs. We can do better for them and their families.”

Kinsey’s bill would permit elderly inmates to petition the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole for medical parole and early release. Individuals convicted of violent crimes would not be eligible, and all decisions to approve or reject petitions would be up to the discretion of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.

The number of state and federal prisoners older than 55 in the U.S. is predicted to grow rapidly, surpassing 400,000 by the year 2030.

On average, it costs almost $70,000 per year to incarcerate an individual 50 or older. This is nearly double the cost for the overall average prisoner.

Recent studies show that elderly inmates have a lower recidivism rate of 7% for ages 50 to 64, and only 4% for ages 65 or older.

Reps. Christopher Rabb and Isabella Fitzgerald, both D-Phila., and staff from Rep. Rosita Youngblood’s office were also in attendance at the meeting.

For more information on this meeting, contact Kinsey’s office at (717) 772-6955.